Saturday, February 27, 2016

29 Days of Bowie: Toy

Recorded through various sessions from 2000 to 2001 and was leaked on the Internet in 2011, Toy is an album by David Bowie that is essentially an album in which Bowie would remake many songs he did from 1964 to 1968 including material from his eponymous debut. As well as some new songs in which a couple of them would end up being material for Heathen, the album is largely performed by Bowie and the band he had been playing at the time such as guitarists Earl Slick and Gerry Leonard, bassist Gail Ann Dorsey, drummer Sterling Campbell, pianist/keyboardist Mike Garson, violinist Lisa Germano, backing vocalists Emm Gryner and Holly Palmer, and guitarist/bassist Mark Plati who would take part in producing the sessions with Bowie.

The two songs that would later appear in a more realized form in Heathen in Afraid and an early version of Slip Away that was called Uncle Floyd as the former is presented in a rough version without the string elements that would appear in the final version while the latter opens in a comical manner with Bowie in a childlike voice talking about the humorous exploits of Uncle Floyd as it then turns into a ballad with Bowie singing in a detached vocal to Garson’s piano and its accompanying stylophone that Bowie is playing with slow rhythms and guitar textures. The other two songs that were written during the sessions in Toy (Your Turn to Drive) as this mixture of funk-based guitars, bopping rhythms, flourishing piano melodies, and calm vocals by Bowie as he sings some playful lyrics as it owes a lot to childhood innocence as it was a song made originally for the 1998 Rugrats movie.

The other in Hole in The Ground is a mid-tempo rocker that is led by driving guitars, walloping drum fills, and a somber synthesizer as Bowie sings these eerie yet abstract lyrics. From the deluxe edition of Heathen in 2007 includes the B-side Baby Loves That Way with its simple, mid-tempo presentation that owes a lot to old-school rock n’ roll with its riffs and innocent lyrics, the folk-based ballad Conversation Piece that includes string arrangements and a slower rhythm, and a steady mid-tempo take on the very rock n’ roll You’ve Got a Habit of Leaving. Yet, the highlight from that deluxe edition is a haunting ballad in a song originally recorded for The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders of Mars in Shadow Man as it’s one of the album’s highlights in its morose lyrics and somber setting with Garson’s pianos and synthesizer textures.

Among the material from Bowie’s early years in 1964 to the material he made in 1968 include a bopping take on the 1966 single I Dig Everything as it is a rock n’ roll song with Bowie singing in a raspy vocal to some driving guitar textures and a steady rhythm. From the songs made in 1968 include a folk-rock take on Let Me Sleep Beside You with Bowie singing calmly to its playful lyrics with an acoustic guitar while being accompanied by driving guitars and soothing keyboards to a bopping rhythm and In the Heat of the Morning is given a slower tempo to suit Bowie’s more baritone vocal style as its riff is led by a synthesizer trumpet as well as soothing violin as it is one of Bowie’s finest remakes of his old songs.

From his 1967 eponymous debut is a remake of Silly Boy Blue as it is quite faithful to its original in its folk setting yet features some heavy bass grooves, Lisa Germano’s soothing violin, and Garson’s calm piano while a B-side in The London Boys is given a more somber, rock-based remake with its guitars, trumpet-sounding synthesizers, and melancholic lyrics. A remake of Bowie’s very first single in the Leslie Conn-penned Liza Jane which Bowie recorded in 1964 as Davie Jones and the King-Bees as it’s given a slower, blues-based remake with some harmonica and bluesy guitar textures where Bowie sings in a distorted fashion as it features some playful lyrics.

Toy is a sensational album from David Bowie. While it’s an album that hardcore fans of Bowie must have as it’s available in torrents and other places in the Internet though a few of those songs would eventually appear in the 2014 deluxe edition of the Nothing Has Changed retrospective compilation. In the end, Toy is a remarkable album from David Bowie.

Studio Releases: David Bowie (1967 album) - David Bowie (1969 album) - The Man Who Sold the World - Hunky Dory - The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars - Aladdin Sane - Pin Ups - Diamond Dogs - Young Americans - Station to Station - Low - "Heroes" - Lodger - Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - Let’s Dance - Tonight - Never Let Me Down - Tin Machine - Tin Machine II - Black Tie White Noise - Outside - Earthling - ‘Hours…’ - Heathen - Reality - The Next Day - *

Live Releases: David Live - Stage - Ziggy Stardust & the Spiders from Mars - Tin Machine Live: Oy Vey, Baby - Bowie at the Beeb - (Live at Fashion Rocks (w/ Arcade Fire)) - (Live Santa Monica ‘72) - (Glass Spider Live) - (VH1 Storytellers) - (A Reality Tour)

Soundtracks: Christiane F. - Labyrinth - The Buddha of Suburbia

Miscellaneous: Peter and the Wolf - Baal - Sound + Vision - (Early On (1964-1966)) - (All Saints) - (Nothing Has Changed)

© thevoid99 2016

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